Well I’ve been lockin’ myself up in my house for some time now
Readin’ and writin’ and readin’ and thinkin’
and searching for reasons and missing the seasons.
The autumn, the spring, the summer, the snow.
The record will stop and the record will go.
Latches latched, the windows down,
the dog coming in and the dog going out.
Up with caffeine and down with a shot.
Constantly worried about what I’ve got.
Distracting my work but I can’t make a stop
and my confidence on and my confidence off.
And I sink to the bottom and rise to the top
and I think to myself that I do this a lot.
World outside just goes it goes it goes it goes it goes it goes…
I witness it all from the blinds of my window.
Talk on Indolence
Jonathan loves this song and has nearly memorized the words above, and I need to film him saying them because it’s incredibly adorable. I’m not sure the words describe indolence at all, which I think of as something you experience on vacation at the beach, but rather in the song, a version of depression and paranoia. In my case, they describe the total lack of physical energy that keeps me inside, doing the bare minimum and no more because I don’t have it in me to do more.
Five and a half weeks out, this is frustrating. I feel like I should be better. I should spring out of bed in the morning, hop to it, and get a ton of stuff done with “all the time I have to lay around,” as people put it. I should be able to go more places, do more things, and particularly not feel like I have the flu all the time afterwards.
Instead, I wake up in pain and wrestle my AirCast on and stumble into the bathroom to put contacts in and inch my way downstairs to recover from the night via a heating pad on my back and coffee on my lips and ankle elevated to relieve the pounding purple pressure. I get a couple of hours of productivity in during the mornings, but by lunchtime the flu-like feeling has set in and after physical therapy I’m on the couch, eyes closed, trying to deal with the general sick feeling on top of the aching, throbbing, overworked ankle. At 3 p.m. the kids roll in from school and I make myself half-sit to work with Jonathan on his homework and direct the girls on theirs.
By 5 p.m. I’ve drug myself off the couch to cobble together a meal from our freezer stash, and by 8 p.m. I’ve got the angel and devil on each shoulder discussing whether I should do stretching exercises or sluff them off because I’m too tired.
Usually the angel wins and I force myself to do the workout, because I know that the combination of workout endorphins and couch time are the only things helping me continue to tread water in this ocean of fatigue. But sometimes the devil wins and I just lay on the bed and think about doing the exercises, but I’m tired and sick and can’t muster it up.
Tired tired tired. Sometimes I think the lack of movement exacerbates the flu-like feeling, and if I were doing more I’d paradoxically feel better. But in the 2-5 p.m. period of doom, I know that’s a big joke because I cannot move. It’s also clearly a joke after I’ve spent the night awake with a throbbing, stabbing ankle that feels like a balloon is swelling pressure on a hundred nails poking inward, which happens whenever I force myself out of the house to meet a friend or attend a church function or take the kids to one of their events and am upright too long.
So. Time is a healer, yes. Certainly I’ve come a long way since September 30, but surprisingly not as far as I’d hoped. It’s like I’ve set out to hike the Appalachian Trail and turn around to check my progress and still see my house looming tall, when I’d expected old-growth hardwoods and rhododendron and fall foliage and zero signs of human development.
But behind this slow progress is resilience, the ability to recover quickly and roll with the punches. I’ve always had it and have been able to muster it at various difficult times like when junior high began and I realized how mean the mean girls were, or during and after our many moves across the country growing up, or during dark periods of loss. I must still have it–I must!–because how will I ever get out of this without it?
Yesterday I found a new 12-mile hike near us that locals call the “ball buster” (sorry mom) and that has some of the best trail and views in the eastern U.S. It’s even named after Joyce Kilmer, who wrote the infamous lines,
I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree
(But before you bust his…well, you know…for bad writing, consider the last lines:)
Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree.
(Even he knew his poetry was rot, but he got that last line right.)
Reading about the hike got me energized and excited again, when literally minutes before this I was having an extreme pity party while scrolling through the Smoky Mountains National Park Instagram feed and tearing up at all the loveliness I’m missing this fall. Reading about the hike and mapping the trails made me feel like I have something to work for. It’s a good summer hike due to all the stream crossings, so I’ve got a goal for June 2016. And just like that, there is the resilience. I may be “searchin for reasons and missin the seasons” for now, but, God willing (oh, how I’ve learned that phrase is not a throwaway), not forever.